Tasmanian LGBTI advocate Rodney Croome has slammed a planned federal override of Tasmania’s offensive language laws announced today by Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter.
The override, part of the federal government’s controversial draft Religious Discrimination Bill, would nullify the offensive conduct provision of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act if the offensive language is religious in nature.
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Croome said the move was in spite of Tasmania’s parliament knocking back the proposal in 2017, and despite Porter promising the Religious Discrimination Bill would not interfere with state discrimination laws.
“Canberra is directly interfering to weaken a Tasmanian human rights law that protects vulnerable people,” said Croome in a statement released this afternoon.
“A significant proportion of complaints under this section are from people with disability, so Canberra is directly weakening protections for them, as well as for women, LGBTI people and anyone else who falls foul of traditional religious doctrines.”
Croome called on Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, the federal senate cross-bench and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to oppose the move.
He alleged the interference in Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws was related to a complaint against a marriage booklet distributed by the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous.
“The complaint against Archbishop Porteous was about two or three sentences in the booklet that suggested same-sex partners are not whole people and that we mess with kids.
“The complainant, Martine Delaney, said she was a motivated by a desire for there to be a more mature debate about same-sex marriage, and she withdrew her complaint when the Archbishop refused to budge.
“The Porteous case has been blown out of all proportion in order to punch a hole in a law that protects vulnerable people.”
A rally opposing the federal intervention will be held outside the Tasmanian Parliament at 11am Saturday, 7 September.
It will follow a rally in Melbourne this Saturday, 31 August, to oppose the Religious Discrimination Bill, after similar rallies in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
This Saturday’s Melbourne demonstration will be held at 1pm Saturday outside the State Library of Victoria.